Saturday, August 19

The semester is upon us. Residence Halls opened earlier this week (it is politically "uncorrect" to call them dorms). Classes start on Monday. Our first Sunday service is tomorrow. There are probably a hundred things that still need doing (including finishing tomorrow's sermon). Ahh... the start of a new year! You would think that after 24 of these things I wouldn't always feel so rushed and unprepared. But it seems to be a common phenomenon among campus ministers. All of my colleagues are feeling the same way.

Doing student ministry is a different animal than working in a church. Very rarely do you find a church where your leadership leaves town for three months and comes back at the same time as 16,000 other people. Very rarely at a church do you have that many people move into town at about the same time - including about 4,000 brand new residents!

So every year at sit at this point and wonder: "Will anyone actually show up?" We've sent emails and notes. We've put up flyers and ads in the campus newspaper and ads on Facebook and "chalked the walks." But when things start this week, will anyone show up besides our staff and families and the students who are playing in the band, etc.? They always do, but you always wonder. Maybe one day they won't. I hope tomorrow is not that day!


Our newest staff members started this week. Austin Brown will be taking Jake's place. He started on Tuesday. Austin is from NW Missouri and has been involved in campus ministries there as a student, Board member, and volunteer leader. His wife, Amy, was also involved in campus ministry as a student and part-time women's minister. They also have a 4-month old daughter named Olivia. Austin will start off leading our worship teams, doing tech stuff, getting to know students and building relationships. His responsibilities will expand as time goes on.

Samantha Smith will be serving as an intern this year. Sam graduated from the UofA last May and has been a part of ConC for the past couple of years. She loves our ministry and is exploring what God has in mind for her future.

We are very glad to have them both here!


As those who have read this blog over the past year know, for the past four years I have volunteered with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Springdale High School. Specifically, I worked with the football team. This year, four of the guys who were in my group over the past three years are playing for the Razorbacks. Three of them will probably contribute quite a bit this year as freshmen. The other most likely will redshirt. Of course, of the four only one has returned any of my emails this summer. Not a good sign ...


This year I'm not going to be working with the Springdale football team. With transitions taking place in the Springdale schools and transitions taking place on our staff and with our ministry, it seemed like a good time to step back from that. But it does look like I may end up leading a weekly Bible study for coaches at Harber High School - the new school in Springdale.


One of the big items of discussion over the past couple of years - and especially this summer - has been the DaVinci Code. Part of its premise is that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and they had children. Now, a woman in LA claims to have traced her genealogy back to that union. Here is a USA Today story about it. Of course, she has signed a huge book deal.


My fantasy baseball leagues are winding down. I'm in the middle of both leagues so it's not been a great season. But then again, I am ahead of the Burners. Our fantasy football league will start up soon. Fox News ran a story that said employers lose 1.1 billion dollars a year in lost productivity from employees messing with their fantasy league teams at work. Of course, the article also said that it would probably be even more costly to damage morale by banning them!


A note to Mom: I received your email saying you liked the blog because you imagined I was writing just to you. The fact is that I could be! Who knows if anyone else ever reads this thing?

Wednesday, August 9

Jake, Jen, and Jonah Tolbert took off for Illinois yesterday. For those of you who don't know the Tolberts, Jake was my associate here at the UofA for at least the past seven years (I can never keep the years straight). Jake came down from Eastern Illinois University to do an internship with us and wound up staying around. Over the years, Jake covered a lot of areas for us: small groups, mission trips, facilities, technology, drama and video, and more. He was a great asset to this ministry and will be greatly missed.


In the "not a big surprise" category, a recent study published in Pediatrics concluded that teens who listen to music with a heavy sexual content tend to become sexually active at an earlier age than those who don't. An Associated Press article by Lindsey Tanner shows that the number almost doubles. And if you don't think that much of today's pop, rock, rap, and hip-hop music doesn't have a heavy sexual content, you haven't been listening.


From an ABCNEWS article: "Eighty-three percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. Most of the rest, 13 percent, have no religion. That leaves just 4 percent as adherents of all non-Christian religions combined — Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and a smattering of individual mentions."

Sunday, August 6

Return from a blogging sabbatical ...

I looked today and realized that it has been over four months since I posted to this site. It doesn't seem that long.

I don't remember why I stopped. I doubt that there was a specific reason. But I find that, as a minister, people seem to expect you to always have something new or inspiring or challenging or deep to say. Also, I fall into the temptation of thinking that I always have to say something! The expectations aren't always conducive to living out James 1:19 - "Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." We are often speaking more and listening less.

So much of this summer has been a break from speaking - whether through the spoken word or the written word. I did speak at several churches that support our ministry (or should!), but I only taught twice at ConC this summer (thanks to Jake and Jeff).

So I've been "saving up." I'll catch you up on personal and family info. But I also want this site to be a place that gets its readers to maybe think about new things, or things from a different perspective. Some you won't agree with (some I won't agree with), but hopefully I will get you to think about your faith and view of the world a little bit.


Christianity Today recently published a list of "proverbs" from around the world. Here are some interesting ones:

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today." Chinese Proverb

"Tell me who's your friend, and I'll tell you who you are." Russian Proverb

"Wherever the heart is, the feet don't hesitate to go." Togo Proverb

"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book." Irish Proverb

"If you can talk, you can sing; if you can walk, you can dance." African Proverb

"Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow." Swedish Proverb

"Man plans; God laughs." Yiddish Proverb